DIY Honda Auto Repair and Maintenance

Honda Auto Repair and Maintenance

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Replacing a Torn CV Boot on a 98 Honda Accord

September 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments

I noticed that I had a torn CV Boot (Constant Velocity Joint Boot) on my 98 Honda Accord.  The CV Boot is a pliable rubber boot that fits over you axle’s CV Joint, it protects the joint by preventing dirt from getting into the joint and ruining it.  If dirt gets into your CV Joints it will cause the joint to wear and potentially fail.  You will hear clicking coming from the front wheels when you turn your car if you have a worn CV Joint.

My CV joint was not worn, there was no clicking sound when turning the car.  I found the torn boot by looking on the inside of the front wheels at the black accordion- like boot and seeing a tear in it.  If you have a torn boot, you will also likely notice axle grease sprayed around on the back side of the wheels and in the wheel well.

Torn CV Boot

Torn CV Boot

This wasn’t a job I was willing to attempt to fix on my own, since I lacked some of the necessary tools and experience, but thankfully I have a friend that was willing to help and instead of paying $160-200 to get this job done – we got to get dirty, learn a bit and go out to dinner later.  The new boot cost me about $20.

Replacing the CV Boot

I bought a Dorman Uni-Fit CV Joint Boot Kit; which comes with the boot, two clamps, some axle grease and instructions – then drove to my friends house and we started the job.

First we took off the front wheel.  After getting the wheel off,  we removed the cotter pin from nut securing the lower ball joint – pliers and a hammer came in handy here.  Once the cotter pin was out we loosened the nut on the ball joint.

After getting the nut off  we were ready to separate the ball joint.  To pop out the ball joint we used a 2/3 jaw reversible gear puller – We could have also used a Ball Joint Separator or a Ball Joint Fork and hammer, however using a fork and hammer would likely destroy the boot on the ball joint and then we would have had to replace that also. 

After getting the ball joint separated, the wheel assembly could be moved pretty freely.  We needed to get the half shaft (axle) out of the wheel now, to do this had to remove the axle nut.  The axle nut was held securly in position by a portion of its lip being bent into a grove in the axle.  We use a hammer and screwdriver to bend this out of the way.  We then removed the axle nut with a 36mm socket and breaker bar, we didn’t actually have the socket so we had to take a break at this point and went down to an auto parts store and got a loaner axle nut socket tool set.

Axel nut on the wheel

Axel nut on the wheel

We used a hammer to knock the axle out of the wheel and then swing the wheel assembly back and set it on a jackstand for support so that the brake lines would not be supporting the weight.

CV Half Shaft

CV Half Shaft

With the axle out of the wheel we were able to start cutting away the old boot and clamps, this is where it really begain to get messy with all axle grease.  Once we had the old boot and clamps off we cleaned the CV Joint as best we could.  I could feel some grit in the grease – a sign that some dirt had penetrated the boot and would eventually get into the joint and cause wear.

Once we had the joint and axle pretty clean we were ready to put the new boot on.  We flipped the new boot inside outwards and greased up the inside to make it a little easier to pull over the axle.  This turned out to be the hardest part of the job, and one of the most painful.  Pulling, stretching, prying – all sorts of ways were tried to get that boot on there – being carefult not to puncture or tear it.  Eventually perserverance ratchets and screwdrivers were able to help us get the boot on.  I think I may have put a small hole in it but, that portion was covered up by the clamp, so I wasn’t concerned by it. 

Next came the boot clamps.  The clamps were strips of metal that are wrapped around the boot and axle, once pulled tight they are crimped down to keep them in place.  This involved more pulling and fighting, the clamps did not stay in position easily, plus there was grease everywhere and that didn’t help.  This turned out to me the other really painful part of the job.  When we finally were able to put on the boot clamps we did this using a regular set of pliers and screwdrivers – doing it this way it was difficult to get the clamps very tight, a better solution would have been to use a CV Boot Clamp Tightening Wrench.  When choosing a wrench or banding tool, make certain you get the type appropriate for the type of clamps you have. 

Alternate Ways to Fix a Torn CV Boot

This was one of the more difficult ways this job could have been done – I think it took me a week to get clean and nearly two to heal.  Having some of the additional tools mentioned in this article would have definatly have made this easier.  Another method of replacing the boot would have been to take out the axle and disassemble the joints, install the new boot, reassemble the joints and replace the axle – this would have saved us the struggle of pulling the boot over the axle.   I also understand that just replacing the axle is easier, but a bit more expensive – however, if your CV joint is clicking when you turn, you don’t have any other option than to replace the axle. 

Another tool that could have made this job easier

This CV Boot Air Tool could have made our job a lot easier by stretching the boot for us and helping us to more easily get it on the axle, but you will need an air compressor to operate it.  There is also a manual installation tool made by dorman that seems to use some cones and a spreader.  Please leave some comments if you have some experience with any of these other methods or tools.

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How I Fixed My AC When it Stopped Working

August 18th, 2010 · No Comments

My AC, heater and thermostat stopped working one day.  It wasn’t just one piece of the system, but everything and I wasn’t in the mood for a huge repair bill.  I got out my multimeter, screwdriver, voltage detector and started looking and asking questions.  This is how I solved the problem.

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Transmission Problems with my 93 Honda Accord

August 14th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Some time ago I began noticing some erratic behavior with my 93 Honda Accord transmission.  The problem turned out to be related to the transmission computer and I was able to fix it myself for only a few dollars. [Read more →]

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How to read OBD1 Diagnostic Codes on a 1993 Honda Accord

April 24th, 2010 · 3 Comments

On my way to work the other day, my car began to behave erratically. When taking off from a stop sign, the transmission seemed to have a problem engaging, it needed higher rpms than usual to get going.  The experience was similar to what you would experience with low transmission fluid.  Shortly there after, I noticed another hiccup in the transmission and saw the “D” and “3” positions light up simultaneiously on the console. I pulled over and checked my fluid – I had plenty of transmission fluid.  I’ve been experiencing electrical issues lately, so I assumed it could easily be related to that.

After driving a bit further at a high rate of speed, I felt the transmission become sluggish briefly. I had enough at this point and decided that I wouldn’t drive it in to work not wanting to risk getting stuck somewhere with a broken car, I drove around a bit more near home without incident and eventually returned home.

I really don’t know really anthing about work, so I decided I’d start doing a bit of research before just taking the car in. The first thing I decided to do was to get the OBD1 codes from the car. This post will explain just how I did that.

The OBD1 connector is located behind the passenger side kick panel in front of the door, underneath the dash. The panel is pretty snug – it is held in by at least three clips and tucked under the trim that runs along the bottom of the door frame.  I removed this panel by getting the panel tip out from underneath the doorframe trim and then getting my hands behind the panel near the clips and pulling it straight out.  My clips were metal and it required a pretty good bit of force. If there is a better way, leave a comment.

After you have the kick panel off, you will see a black plastic tube holding cables running up along the door frame. I found my ODB1 connector taped to this tube with blue electrical tape. The connector has two wires going into it and nothing connected to it.

OBD1 Connector Location

OBD1 Connector Location

Using a spare paperclip I had in my car, I jumped the two wires by inserting the two ends of the paperclip into the two connection points of the connector.

Jumping the OBD1 connector with a paperclip

Jumping the OBD1 connector with a paperclip

After doing this, I turned the ignition to the on position, but did not start the car.  The indicators on the dash displayed codes by flashing several times.  It is a good idea to have a pencil and paper handy in the event you are given several codes.  A long flash represents a value of 10, short quick flashes represent values of 1.  There is a pause between the different codes that are presented.  Once all of the codes are displayed, it repeats them again.  The two indicators that will display codes are the Check Engine Light, which will send codes from the ECU (Engine Control Unit – The main computer for the car) and the Gear Shift “D” (Drive) indicator showing TCU (Transmission Control Unit) codes.  Once I had all of my codes written down I began research on the problems my car was experiencing using both the internet and my well worn Haynes 1993 Accord Repair Manual.

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Rekeying a Schlage Deadbolt Lock

December 24th, 2009 · 3 Comments

This is part 3 of the Lock Rekeying Series. 

In part 1 I discussed your options for Getting Your Locks Rekeyed.  I also introduced the subject of lock rekeying kits and discussed three different types: a single use small rekeying kit, a custom rekey kit good for occasional use, and a full size manufacturers Rekeying Kit designed for heavy use.

In part 2 I defined the Tools and Parts Commonly Found in Lock Rekeying Kits

In this article I will relate my experience rekeying a Schlage deadbolt lock. 

I have never rekeyed a lock and had only a minor understanding of how locks worked.  I found some guides from the Schlage website and read about rekeying my particular lock.  I then purchased a custom rekeying kit on EBay.  I was able to successfully rekey my lock and I am happy to have the custom kit in the event I need to rekey more locks later and the experience and new found knowledge.

I found the tools a bit unwieldy, somewhat due to their small size, inexperience and a less than perfect fit – I do not know if the tools were OEM Schlages or not, however I would guess that OEM tools may have been easier to use.  If anyone has experience with this please comment.  Specifically I found the follower to be an extremely tight fit which made it difficult to move and the cap remover teeth did not match up correctly with the scallops on the cap, the tools circumference seemed smaller than that of the cap – nevertheless, I was able to use the tools successfully.

Lock Rekeying Reference

Here are the manuals for Schlage Lock Rekeying that I used for rekeying locks:

Rekeying the Lock

This is the basic process I went through to rekey my lock,  if you are going to rekey a lock use one of the manuals from the manufacturer as your reference.

With the deadbolt in my hand I  lifted the plastic retainer off of the lock.  Once the retaining ring was off, I lifted the crank off.

I then used the cap remover, I attempted to align the teeth of the cap remover with the scallops on the cap.  I also discovered I must simultaneously depress the cap pin with the cap remover tool while loosening the cap (the pin’s purpose is to prevent the cap from turning).

Once the cap was off,  I removed the tailpiece and the washer and then dumped out the cap pin and its spring.

With the old key in the plug and turned to about two o’clock, I attempted to insert the follower and push the plug out of the cylinder – I found this difficult because of the extremely tight fit of my follower, after a few tries the follower became worn enough that I was successfully able to remove the plug. 

You may spill the bottom pins which are inside the plug during this process – this is ok, you will be dumping them out anyways.  If you  spill the top pins which are in the cylinder, you will have some extra work to do to get these back in (the follower is designed to prevent you from spilling the top pins).

Once I had the plug out, I replaced the old bottom pins with the new bottom pins to make my new key work.  When the correct pins are in place, the tops of the pins sit flush with the plug surface when the key is fully inserted.  I tested several different pins to find the right match, it wasn’t until later that I discovered that the numbers corresponding to the pins are printed right on the key – This is mentioned in the manuals linked above, but I not completely read them.

After I had installed my new pins, I reassembled the lock, installed it in the door and tested my work.  It worked wonderfully.  It probably took me an hour or more to rekey and install the lock, now that I’ve done it once, I should be able to rekey similar locks much quicker.

Articles in this series

Part 1:  Getting Your Locks Rekeyed

Part 2: Tools and Parts Commonly Found in Lock Rekeying Kits

Part 3: Rekeying a Schlage Deadbolt Lock

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Tools and Parts Commonly Found in Lock Rekeying Kits

December 23rd, 2009 · 2 Comments

This is part 2 of the Lock Rekeying Series.  In part 1 I discussed your options for Getting Your Locks Rekeyed.  I also introduced the subject of lock rekeying kits and discussed three different types: a single use small rekeying kit, a custom rekey kit good for occasional use, and a full size manufacturers Rekeying Kit designed for heavy use.  In part 3 I will discuss Rekeying a Schlage Deadbolt Lock.

In this post I will define what some of the common components and tools are in a lock rekeying kit.  To start rekeying locks you should at least have:

  1. A follower
  2. A variety of bottom pins
  3. A deadbolt cap remover if you will rekey deadbolts

Addittional tools and components will make things easier and allow you to rekey a greater variety of locks.

Common Tools for Rekeying Locks

Follower – Tool that is slid into the cylinder while pushing the plug out.  This tool prevents the top pins and springs from falling out.

Deadbolt Cap Remover – Tool that helps in removing the cylinder cap on deadbolt locks

Key Gauge – allows you to identify the pins by measuring the key, or the pins themselves

Removal Tool – tool that can be useful for disengaging knobs and maneuvering other small parts

Tweezers – useful for handling small pins and springs if you aren’t very nimble with small parts

Common Lock Components in Lock Rekeying Kits

Bottom Pins – Pins of varying lengths with one end coming to a point which engages the key, you will normally be changing these when rekeying locks

Top Pins –  Small cylindrical pins which sit between the bottom pins and the springs

Springs – Keeps pressure on the top pins

Cylinder Caps – A screw on cap that locks the cylinder in place on a deadbolt lock

Cylinder Cap Pins – Keeps the cylinder cap in place by engaging the grooves on the cap

Cylinder Cap Pin Springs – Sits beneath the cylinder cap pin and applies pressure to it so that the cylinder cap pin will engage the cylinder cap grooves.

Where You Can Get Lock Rekeying Parts and Tools

  • Locksmiths
  • Hardware Stores
  • Mail-order Companies
  • Internet Companies
  • Lock Manufacturers
  • EBay

Articles in this series

Part 1:  Getting Your Locks Rekeyed

Part 2:  Tools and Parts Commonly Found in Lock Rekeying Kits

Part 3:  Rekeying a Schlage Deadbolt Lock

→ 2 CommentsTags: empty · Home · Maintenance

Getting Your Locks Rekeyed

December 23rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

This is part 1 in a series of articles on rekeying locks.  In this first article we will discuss the reasons for rekeying your locks and the rekeying options available to you.   In part 2 we will discuss Tools and Parts Commonly Found in Lock Rekeying Kits.  In part 3 we discuss Rekeying a Schlage Deadbolt Lock.

A common problem homeowners run into is having to carry multiple keys for different locks around the home.  The solution is to rekey your locks.  This post will identify what you need to know and what you can expect if you need to get your locks rekeyed or if you prefer to do it yourself.

Why You Should Rekey Your Locks

There are several reasons you may have for wanting to rekey your locks, some of the most common are that you feel you are carrying around too many keys; perhaps you have lost keys to your home and are worried that others may now have access to your home and belongings; perhaps you recently purchased your home and want to make sure the previous owners do not have access; or you may have had to replace some locks and now your home has mismatched locks.  All of these are valid reasons to look into getting your locks rekeyed.

Your Lock Rekeying Options

There are many different means you can use to rekey your locks.  The method you choose will depend on a variety of things such as the number of locks you have to be rekeyed, cost, time requirements, skill level and willingness to learn.

Using a Locksmith to Rekey Your Locks

The simplest solution is to have a locksmith come to your home and rekey your locks for you, this also may be the most costly since it involves a house call and a professional services; depending on the number of locks, types of locks and the amount of time you have available – this may be the best option.

Rekeying Your Locks at the Hardware Store 

If you only have a few locks that need to be rekeyed and are comfortable removing the locks from your doors, you can take the locks off and take them to a locksmith or a hardware store.  Locksmiths and many hardware stores will usually rekey them for you for a small fee – you will be saving yourself the expense of a house call by removing and reinstalling the locks yourself.

Rekeying a Lock Yourself  – Lock Rekeying Kits

If you like to learn new skills or want to try rekeying a lock yourself,  you can find several different kits for getting the job done.  Rekeying kits are brand specific, so when choosing a make sure it will work with your locks.  If you have different brands of locks on your home, you may not be able to make them work with the same key.

Single Use Rekey Kits With Keys

 One of the cheapest methods are some of the single key rekey kits such as Change-A-Lock that are available online or in home improvement stores.  These kits will generally contain several precut keys and pins and a few tools to enable you to rekey several locks.  However, by using one of these kits, you won’t be able to match one of your existing keys since these kits are designed to rekey all locks to the keys that come with the kit.

Professional Rekey Kits

A second do it yourself method for rekeying your own locks is to by a lock rekeying kit from the lock manufacturer.  These kits will contain all of the tools, pins and other parts you need to rekey your locks.  If you don’t have a key that you want to rekey the lock to you can have one made by a locksmith if you tell them the pins you are using in your lock.  Alternatively you could buy one lock in addition to your rekey kit and use this key as the new key for all of your locks.  Homeowners will probably not want to get a rekeying kit – this solution would be ideal for landlords who can justify the expense of getting a kit and will likely be having to rekey locks frequently.

Custom Rekey Kits

A third option which is cheaper than a lock rekeying kit but offers more flexibility than the single key rekey kits is to look for a custom kit on ebay.  These custom ebay kits will generally have the basic tools and a wide assortment of pins, though not as many of them as a full kit, that you will need to rekey several locks with a variety of different keys – these are similar to the full kits, just cheaper and smaller.   As with the manufacturer rekey kits, these kits do not come with precut keys so you should have a key that you would like to rekey to, or have a key made.

Articles in this series

Part 1:  Getting Your Locks Rekeyed

Part 2:  Tools and Parts Commonly Found in Lock Rekeying Kits

Part 3:  Rekeying a Schlage Deadbolt Lock

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Website Forum and Twitter

July 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

I’ve added a forum to this website in order to facilitate users helping each other find solutions to their home and auto questions.  Please sign up for the forums to take advantage of this tool.  I’ve also added a twitter account so you can be notified of new posts.

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How to Get Off a Rounded Nut

July 21st, 2009 · 1 Comment

Some things you learn the hard way.  It probably common for someone who likes to save money or tackle a job themselves.  Such was my experience trying to remove an EGR Valve.  The nuts were securely frozen on the stud.  I worked at it with my socket wrench and some liquid wrench without success.  Eventually the socket started slipping.  I suspected I had broken another cheap socket, I’d done it before – this time however, the nut was rounded. [Read more →]

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A Letter to a Homeowner’s Association

June 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

I had several suggestions for my Home Owners Association to consider, so I decided to send them the following ideas on recycling, a Neighborhood Watch Program, Home Owner Association Budget Reports and speed bumps: [Read more →]

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